Dustin Mueller - MSM&C

Attorney at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling

Practice Areas: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Workers’ Compensation, Property Insurance Claims

If you have suffered an injury while working in Iowa, you may be entitled to benefits through the worker’s compensation system. This program provides medical care, lost wage replacement, and other compensation to employees who are hurt on the job.

Navigating the worker’s comp process can be complex, with strict deadlines and confusing paperwork. An experienced attorney familiar with Iowa’s laws and system can help maximize your benefits and chances of a favorable outcome.

Key Criteria for Selecting a Worker’s Comp Attorney

As you look for the right worker’s comp lawyer, here are 10 key questions to ask:

Experience Handling Iowa Worker’s Comp Cases

  • Look for an attorney who regularly deals with these types of cases and understands the intricacies and nuances of Iowa’s program.
  • They should have represented numerous injured workers through the claims process, hearings, and settlements.
  • Ask how many active comp cases the lawyer currently has and their total years of experience in this practice area.

“An experienced worker’s comp attorney will know how to efficiently navigate the bureaucracy and complexity of Iowa’s system.”

Specific Training in Worker’s Comp Law

  • Ideally, the lawyer will have advanced certifications or designations directly related to worker’s compensation, such as being a certified specialist in this field recognized by the Iowa State Bar Association.
  • You want someone who has gone beyond general law education to develop in-depth expertise in comp statutes, regulations, and cases.

Years of Experience Practicing Worker’s Comp Law

  • While any experience is valuable, you generally want a lawyer who has been handling these cases for at least 5-10 years or more.
  • A long track record shows the attorney knows how to efficiently navigate the bureaucracy and complexity of the system over many claims.

Success Rate for Past Cases

  • The attorney should be able to provide specific statistics or examples demonstrating a proven ability to deliver favorable outcomes for clients.
  • Look for settlement results above state averages and a high percentage of cases won if brought before an Iowa Workforce Development hearing.

Attorney’s Specific Role in Your Case

  • Find out if the lawyer will directly work on your case or pass off work to associates or paralegals.
  • You want the attorney you hire closely involved in building your claim strategy, presenting evidence, communicating with insurers, and representing you at hearings.

Steps in the Claims Process

 

  • The lawyer should walk you through the standard stages, from reporting the injury to your employer through hearings or settlement.
  • Key steps usually include:
    • Filing the First Report of Injury
    • Submitting evidence
    • Getting medical evaluations
    • Negotiating with insurers
    • Responding to objections
    • Participating in work comp hearings if needed

Visual: Infographic or flow chart of the typical claims process stages

Building the Strongest Possible Case

  • An experienced attorney will have proven methods for:
    • Developing solid evidence of your work-related injury
    • Proving its full impact on your ability to work
    • Demonstrating the need for treatment
    • Calculating all compensation you are owed under Iowa law
  • This should include coordinating expert medical opinions.

Expected Communication

  • You need an attorney who will keep you updated on the status of your case, consult with you on important decisions, and be available to answer your questions.
  • Clarify how they prefer to communicate (phone, email, etc) and expected response times so you stay informed.

Legal Fees and Billing

  • Most worker’s comp lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, taking a percentage (often 20-30%) of any final settlement or award.
  • Understand the specifics of their fee structure, payment expectations, and policies regarding expenses. Get fee agreements in writing upfront.

References From Past Clients

  • A truly skilled worker’s comp attorney should be able to readily provide references from satisfied clients.
  • Speaking to others they have represented will give you valuable insights into their reputation, work ethic, and trial record.

Choosing the right worker’s compensation lawyer is critical for giving yourself the best chance for a favorable and swift resolution of your claim. Asking the right questions upfront ensures you find an attorney truly qualified to represent you and experienced in Iowa’s system. Doing your due diligence helps avoid unnecessary frustrations or delays in getting the benefits and compensation you deserve.

If you have suffered a workplace injury, the Iowa workers’ compensation attorneys at [www.iowalawyers.com] can help. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.

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    Additional Resources and Statistics on Iowa Workers’ Compensation

    1. Iowa Workers’ Compensation Benefit Rates: The Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation annually issues a Ratebook Spreadsheet that contains tables with workers’ compensation weekly benefit rates. This includes rates for temporary total disability (TTD), healing period (HP), permanent partial disability (PPD), permanent total disability (PTD), and death benefits. Source: Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation
    2. 2023-2024 Workers’ Compensation Table of Benefits: For injuries occurring between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, the maximum for TTD, HP, PTD, and Death Benefits was $1,413.00, and the maximum for PPD Benefits was $1,300.00. The State Average Weekly Wage was $706.39. Source: Evans & Dixon
    3. Calculation of Average Weekly Wage: For hourly employees, the average weekly wage is computed by dividing by 13 the wages, including overtime hours at the straight time rate, earned from the employer for the 13 consecutive calendar weeks immediately preceding the injury. Source: Evans & Dixon
    4. Rate Resources for Workers’ Compensation: The Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation provides a Ratebook Spreadsheet for calculating an injured employee’s weekly workers’ compensation benefit rate. This includes information on mileage reimbursement and various types of weekly workers’ compensation benefits. Source: Iowa Workers’ Compensation
    5. Workers’ Compensation Rate Filing and Order: The Iowa Insurance Division provides resources and information related to workers’ compensation rate filings and orders. Source: Iowa Insurance Division

    Additional Authoritative Sources for Further Reading

    1. Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law: This resource provides comprehensive information on the Iowa workers’ compensation system, governed by the Iowa Code, Iowa Administrative Code, court opinions, and decisions and orders of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. It includes detailed chapters and sections relevant to workers’ compensation. Explore Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law
    2. 2021-2022 Iowa Workers’ Compensation Manual: Published by the Iowa Workforce Development, this manual offers guidelines and information for handling Iowa workers’ compensation claims. It serves as a valuable resource for understanding the processes and regulations involved in workers’ compensation in Iowa. View the 2021-2022 Iowa Workers’ Compensation Manual

    Providing Unmatched EXPERIENCE On Your Case When you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been treated unfairly or you’re in the middle of a legal disagreement, it can be difficult to know what your rights are and how to proceed.

    • The attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland, & Cooling help me understand and keep me up-to-date on everything with my case this law firm is top-notch if you need a law firm to fight for you this one is the best in the state. I thank the partners at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland, Cooling for having such talented lawyers on their team, and their hard work and dedication to my case

    • Professional, responsive, and most diligent individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with on my case. This firm gets the job done and they care legitimately about their clients. Anyone who loves chihuahuas as much as me has to be a great person. I would recommend this firm to everyone.

    • I was in a bad situation after a work injury and wasn’t sure if my employer was trying to do things that weren’t legal in regard to my medical care and returning to work too soon. A friend of mine put me in contact with Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling. They were extremely helpful and very quick to contact me, ask and answer questions, and help me with my case. I appreciate all they do and for taking me seriously!

    • I was recently in a car accident which was a traumatizing experience. However, I got in contact with Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling and never looked back. Everyone was friendly and they reassured me things would work out. They turned a stressful experience to nothing at all. I would recommend to others in the area

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